May 2013 FEATURE
It's Even More fune in the Philippines
by Katie Hultgren
In January 2012, the Philippines Department of Tourism adopted a very creative marketing slogan, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines,” and turned it into a tremendously successful ad campaign. With the tourism department, citizens, and travelers alike all contributing fantastic photos and clever slogans to this campaign via Facebook, Twitter, youtube and other social media sites, success was inevitable. The Philippines is enjoying record numbers of visitors, and their forward momentum seems unstoppable. Through this campaign, people all over the world are becoming aware of the culture, nature, adventure, beaches, lifestyle and historical experiences available to visitors to
The Philippines is an archipelago located east of Vietnam, and north of Indonesia. There are 7,107 islands in the Philippines, of which 2,000 are inhabited. A safe and enjoyable destination, the country consists of the geographic regions of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, with the capital of Manila located in Luzon. There are no bigger believers in the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” slogan than the citizens of the country. Filipinos are welcoming and friendly and want to share their country and all it has to offer with visitors. Over four million people traveled to the Philippines in 2012, of which approximately 15 percent were from the US. Tourism for 2013 is off to a great start, with numbers reflecting a 10 percent increase year to date over the same period last year. The goal is 10 million visitors by 2016, which seems entirely possible with more and more people learning about all that the country has to offer.
According to Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jiminez, there is lots of opportunity for further development of tourism, including new accreditation standards for hotels, resorts and accommodations plus tourism infrastructure improvement programs slated for 2013-2016. This year will concentrate on market development, expanding the market for new users and new uses and continuing the “Fun” they have started.
The Philippines Department of Transportation is reporting improved standards in aviation, which will allow increased flights to and from the Philippines, helping the country reach the goal of more than 10 million visitors by 2016.
Multi-Award Winning Destination
With more than 7,000 of the most heavenly islands, Conde Nast and Travel + Leisure both listed the Philippines as one of the hottest destinations for 2013. TripAdvisor’s Travelers Choice has listed Boracay Beach as one of the best beaches in Asia for three years in a row. Also on the list of the Top 25 destinations are the Secret Lagoon of El Nido, Palawan for its wonderful views, and Boracay’s Japak Beach for the best waves. The country was also touted for friendly locals, and value for the money. At the Thai International Travel Fair in Bangkok, the “More Fun” trade show booth won an award in early 2013. Also, El Nido Resorts in Palawan received the Tourism for Tomorrow Award from the World Travel and Tourism Council in April 2013. People are taking notice.
Being named one of the 7 Wonders of Nature has led to a 45 percent increase in arrivals to the Puerto-Princesa underground river, located in Palawan. Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park encompasses one of the world’s most impressive cave systems, featuring spectacular limestone karst landscapes, pristine natural beauty, and intact old-growth forests and distinctive wildlife. It is the longest navigable underground river in the world. The park was also named to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1999. Today, Puerto Princesa is a popular tourist city with many beach resorts and restaurants. It has been acclaimed several times as the cleanest and greenest city in the Philippines, and is known as the Eco-Tourism Center of the Philippines. In an effort to continue sustainable development, and manage the eco-system, the DOT and city government of Palawan have teamed up to launch an online booking system. This automated booking system will be available for booking by travel agents, and will assist with crowd control and tourist demand. “Puerta Princesa City is a perfect example of a local government unit that works hand in hand with the national government. This is merely the beginning of our efforts together and one of the measures that will help ensure that the world famous attraction’s carrying capacity is not compromised,” Tourism Secretary Jiminez enthused. Visit www.ppur.com.ph
If your client’s idea of fun is the beach, the Philippines is worth serious consideration. With 7,107 islands, and a coastline twice the length of that of the United States, the Philippines can claim to be Asia’s Beach Capital. Visitors can enjoy the warm crystal blue waters of both the China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Mention the Philippines and images of long, white sand beaches and bodies of water blessed with a variety of marine life come to mind. Famous Boracay Island, with its sugary white sand beaches and azure blue waters, is located on the northwestern tip of Panay, Western Visayas. The best of the island is White Beach, touted as the “finest beach in the world.” The water surrounding the island is shallow and the sand is finer and brighter than most beaches in the archipelago. Boracay has consistently made it to the top of poll results on travel websites, and its protection and preservation is a main concern being addressed by national and local authorities. Boracay is also highly rated for relaxation and nightlife, according to a survey conducted by Asia’s hotel booking site, www.agoda.com.
Award winning RESORT
Lagen Island Resort in El Nido, Palawan was awarded TripAdvisor’s traveler’s choice award based on reviews from travelers who have experienced a stay at the resort. Set amidst a lush forest are 50 well appointed rooms and villas, a calm shallow lagoon, and a reef teeming with marine life. From the nature trail, see the limestone cliff, home to a diverse variety of wildlife and birds, and enjoy the sunset views over Bacuit Bay. Recreation opportunities include a pool, spa. gym and water sports such as scuba diving, snorkeling, paddleboats and kayaks. El Nido has four island resorts in the Philippines. Due to their committment to sustainable development of the El Nido Municipality on Palawan Island, the corporation was recently honored with the Tourism for Tomorrow Award from the World Travel and Tourism Council. Visit www.elnidoresorts.com
The Department of Tourism has recently announced that it will highlight the country’s various destinations with the installation of new digital information kiosks. These digital information kiosks will provide round the clock information to tourists and locals about business services, accommodations, places of interest and upcoming events. Kiosks will be strategically located throughout metro Manila, at airports, rail stations, malls, hotels and will also include device chargers, digital photo booths and wifi. Eventually there will be 500 such kiosks nationwide. First time travelers to the country will now find it easier and more convenient to access travel information once in the country.
With numerous accolades from the travel industry, quickly rising numbers of incoming tourists, local and national governments working together towards sustainable development, all combined with an extremely successful ad campaign, there is much for the Philippines to be proud of. Tourism Secretary Jiminez beams, “We would like to think these recognitions are a result of what we have painted. These are the fruits of a renewed confidence and enthusiasm, for the tourism industry as well as a result of our intensive promotional activities her and abroad. It’s always nice to know that our country is being recognized for its beauty and hospitality of our people.” For more information about the Philippines, visit www.itsmorefunin thephilippines.com or contact their New York office at firstname.lastname@example.org